To engage your abilities in mindfulness it is fun and helpful to play games/activities that encourage your skills. Here is a list of some that I have come up with:
In this game you conceive of a short poetic phrase to describe something in the present moment. This is to hone in on not just what is but its meaningfulness. This works best if you are in some dynamic environment, but it can apply to anywhere. For example, I was at the beach recently and I saw the waves on the ocean. And they were beautiful and reminded me of people marching in rows. So the poetic phrase would be: I see the noble parade of waves marching towards the shore. You can do this for anything and everything around you, singular or plural. Also not just what it is but how it makes you feel. It is all for the purpose of building presence to the moment and realizing its meaning.
The Big Bang and Beyond:
This is a game to try and realize how things come to be. Everything is caused by previous things and conditions. That line of causes goes back all the way to the big bang, and even beyond that if you believe in the multi-verse. Find an object in your environment and realize how it got there. For example, at the beach I saw a wooden barrier that separated a public beach from a private one. It would take the battering of the waves every day at the end of it. It was completely green, probably form some way they treat the wood. This structure got there from multiple people who had families and ancestry who were devising how to put these pieces of wood in just the right place to partition the beach correctly. The wood came from trees that lived for at least 10 years. They depended on the soil, the sunlight, the rain, and the air. They grew from seedlings that came from previous trees who's ancestry goes down the evolutionary line all the way to the first life on earth millions of years ago, who's material came from the supernovae of previous stars and so on until the point where atoms were first coalesced after the big bang took place. Beyond that is previous big bangs, or maybe just a mystery. And so we do this for everything around us, realizing that nothing exists independently, but only based on previous causes and conditions coming together. Everything has a story to tell that is billions of years old. And everything is ultimately still a mystery.
Feelings in the Body:
In this activity you are invited to go through a list with a partner or group and indicate with your hand where you feel certain feelings. One person takes turns saying the feelings to be located. All the feelings we have can be correlated to a part or parts of our body. If we have awareness of these places we can have greater presence to them, especially if they do not serve us or if they are difficult. Here is a list of some feelings you can hone in on. I invite you to really tune in to yourself, closing your eyes if need be, and listen to how your body reacts to these feelings:
Anger, love, jealousy, joy, selfishness, forgiveness, stress, gratitude, anxiety, grounded, dull, inspired, depressed, healthy pride, selfish pride, bravery, stubbornness, authenticity, being fake, being willing, being weak, longing.
More feelings can be thought of to add to this short list. An example of locating a feeling in your body is feeling love in your heart area. Using this activity especially for your harder or harmful feelings is important to use the wisdom and peace of the body and mind together to help pacify negative emotions. These games and activities are useful to develop your presence. Mindfulness is about building the realization of everything the moment has to offer, within as well as without. Building a deep appreciation that can sustain you in all kinds of situations as well as a keen discerning awareness of what arises in your own mind will allow you to transform in order to live a happier and more peaceful life.